(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit alongside CatholicVote Civic Action for records of communication between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with Catholic organizations near the Texas border that were aiding illegal immigrants (CatholicVote Civic Action and Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:22-cv-00290)).
This lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia after both the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and HHS each failed to respond to FOIA requests on September 1, 2021.
The first FOIA request is for:
All communications between the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and any of the following:
- The Diocese of Brownsville (San Juan, Texas);
- Bishop Daniel E. Flores in his capacity as Bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas;
- Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley (“CCRGV”);
- Sister Norma Pimentel in her capacity as the Executive Director of CCRGV; or
- The Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.
The second FOIA request is for:
All communications between the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding any of the following:
1. Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley (“CCRGV”);
2. Sister Norma Pimentel in her capacity as the Executive Director of CCRGV; or
3. the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.
Sister Pimentel, in a February 3 interview, acknowledged her charity is reimbursed with tax dollars to buy “very few” plane and bus tickets for illegal aliens to move throughout the United States.
In July 2021, a Texas Police Officer encountered a COVID-positive illegal immigrant family at a fast food restaurant near the border who had been released by Border Patrol. The family told the officer that Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, “had booked all the rooms in the hotel to house undocumented immigrants detained by Border Patrol.”
The police added that, “Border Patrol was quarantining other undocumented individuals who were COVID positive, or showed symptoms of illness, then handing them over to the non-profit. Catholic Charities would in turn place the undocumented individuals in hotels …”
On July 28, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order halting the transportation of illegal immigrants by any person other than, “a federal, state or local law-enforcement official.”
“The Biden administration has refused to provide copies of communications between Catholic-affiliated charities and organizations at the border. Their lack of transparency and obstruction forced us to file these federal lawsuits. American Catholics deserve to know the full extent of the U.S. government’s role in funding and coordinating with Catholic church affiliated agencies at the border, and what role these agencies played in the record surge of illegal immigrants over the past year. We will do whatever is necessary to uncover the truth,” said Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.
“Americans have the right to know how the Biden administration is using tax dollars to conspire with ‘charities’ and release illegal immigrants into their communities,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
CatholicVote.org is a community of patriotic Americans who believe that the timeless truths of the Catholic faith are good for America. It makes its mission “to inspire every Catholic in America to live out the truths of our faith in public life.”